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How to Register in Germany as an Expat: A Step-by-Step Guide

Updated: Aug 29

As soon as you process your visa and land in Germany, one of the first steps you should be doing is to register in your respective Bürgerbüro (local citizen’s office) and get the meldebescheinigung OR Anmeldebescheinigung OR Anmeldebestätigung.

How to get meldebescheinigung in Germany? image represents a person walking in front of a government office

If you are planning to live and work in Germany, one of the first things you need to do is to register your address with the local authorities. This is a legal requirement that applies to everyone who moves to Germany, whether they are German citizens or foreigners. In this article, I will explain everything you need to know about how to register in Germany, including the benefits, the documents, the steps, and the deadlines.

What is registration and why do you need it?

Registration (Anmeldung) is the process of notifying the local authorities of your place of residence in Germany. You need to register every time you move to a new address within Germany, or when you first arrive in the country. Registration is important for several reasons:

  • It allows you to get a tax identification number (Steueridentifikationsnummer), which you need for paying taxes and receiving social benefits.

  • It enables you to open a bank account, get a phone contract, and access other services that require proof of address.

  • It entitles you to vote in local elections and referendums.

  • It helps you avoid fines and penalties for not complying with the law.

What do I need meldebescheinigung for?

The registration certificate is necessary for many processes in Germany, such as:

Not only the items listed above, it might also be required for other purposes such as getting a monthly travel card for the public transport or even to get a phone contract in Germany.

What documents do you need to register in Germany?

To register in Germany, you need to provide the following documents:

  • A valid passport or identity card

  • A registration form (Anmeldeformular), which you can download from the website of your local registration office (Bürgeramt) or get from them in person

  • A confirmation of your landlord (Wohnungsgeberbestätigung), which is a document that proves that you have moved into your new address. You can ask your landlord to fill out this form or use a template that you can find online

  • A marriage certificate or a birth certificate, if you are registering with your spouse or children

  • A visa or a residence permit, if you are not an EU citizen

How do you register in Germany?

To register in Germany, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Find your local registration office (Bürgeramt). You can use a website to search for the nearest one by entering your postal code or city name.

  2. Make an appointment online or by phone. You can use a website to book an appointment online or call the number of your local registration office. You should make an appointment as soon as possible after moving to your new address, as the waiting times can be long.

  3. Go to the registration office on the day of your appointment. Bring all the required documents with you and be prepared to pay a small fee (usually around 10 euros) for the registration. The registration office will issue you a confirmation of registration (Meldebescheinigung), which is a document that proves that you have registered successfully.

When do you need to register in Germany?

You need to register in Germany within 14 days of moving to your new address. If you fail to do so, you may face fines of up to 1000 euros and other consequences, such as losing your right to vote or being denied social benefits. Therefore, it is advisable to register as soon as possible after arriving in Germany.

How long does it take to get the meldebescheinigung

If you present all these documents and if they are through, you will get the registration certificate right there. Soon after you register, the information will be passed over to the tax department and you will receive your tax ID via post.

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